The collapse of the apartheid state and the ushering in of democratic rule in 1994 represented a new beginning for the new South Africa and the Southern African region. There were widespread expectations and hopes that the elaboration of democratic institutions would also inaugurate policies that would progressively alleviate poverty and inequality.
Fourteen years into the momentous events that saw Nelson Mandela become the president of South Africa, critical questions are being asked about the country’s transition, especially about its performance in meeting the targets laid down in its own macro-economic programmes in terms of poverty and inequality, and the consequences of the fact that the expectations of South Africans have not been met.
Officially started in 1948 when the Afrikaner Nationalist party came to power, apartheid is a system of racial laws devised to "Preserve and promote a white majority over a black majority." It has a lot of opposition and it led to an international boycott of South Africa because of it.
The songs each expressed their views and thoughts of the National Party, for example the lyrics in Ndodemnyama that specifically called against Hendrik Verwoerd (2), the South African Prime Minister at the time.
Poverty in South Africa has racial, gender and spatial dimensions, a direct result of the policies of the successive colonial, segregationist and apartheid regimes. Poverty is distributed unequally among the nine provinces. Provincial poverty rates are highest for the Eastern Cape (71%), Free State (63%), North-West (62%), Northern Province (59%) and Mpumalanga (57%), and lowest for Gauteng (17%) and the Western Cape (28%). Three children in five live in poor households, and many children are exposed to public and domestic violence, malnutrition, and inconsistent parenting and schooling. Redistribution of income in South Africa in order to address disparities is not a story of only the post-apartheid era. From the late 1970s, expenditure on Africans began to rise, first in response to increasing political instability from 1976, which led to rising education spending. Between 1990 and 1993, expenditure on Africans accelerated sharply as the apartheid government desperately tried to buy black support during the constitutional negotiations for the forthcoming universal franchise election (Gelb 2003: 11). In the post-apartheid era robust measures ranging from slowing down population growth in the black community to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) have been initiated to address issues of poverty and inequality.
The crisis of expectation and poverty
Poverty is inseparable from politics in South Africa, whether looking at origins and causes, its current form, or solutions. Since the turn of the century, a growing literature has sprung up attempting to answer the burning question of whether the South African income distribution has improved in terms of a reduction in poverty and inequality since political transition. In per capita terms South Africa is an upper-middle-income country, but notwithstanding this relative wealth, the experience of most South African households is one of absolute poverty or of continuing vulnerability to being poor. In addition, the distribution of income and wealth in South Africa is among the most unequal in the world, and many households still have unsatisfactory access to education, health care, energy and clean water. This triggered the famous quote in the 1998 parliamentary debate on reconciliation and nation-building, when then deputy president Thabo Mbeki (Mbeki 1998) famously argued that
Material conditions … have divided our country into two nations, the one black, and the other white. … [the latter] is relatively prosperous and has ready access to a developed economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure … The second, and larger, nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in the rural areas, the black rural population in general and the disabled.
This nation lives under conditions of a grossly underdeveloped economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure. It has virtually no possibility to exercise what in reality amounts to a theoretical right to equal opportunity.
The anti-apartheid movement was spearheaded by the black community in the United States. As leaders of this community, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) was instrumental in organizing and supporting activities that brought national and global attention to the racist and inhumane treatment of blacks in South Africa. The CBC's efforts to raise awareness about South Africa's apartheid system ultimately led to the passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.
Representative Ronald V. Dellums (D-CA) introduced the CBC's first bill concerning apartheid in 1972. Over the next 14 years, CBC members sponsored more than 15 bills concerning apartheid. Members sponsored hearings, organized rallies, and participated in protests in Washington D.C., as well as in their home districts. Their efforts, in conjunction with the efforts of community activists, students and other organizations, brought widespread attention to the racist and inhumane treatment of blacks in South Africa.
Prior to 1986, CBC members, along with students and other community activists, brought widespread attention to South Africa through a number of rallies and protests in Washington, D.C. and their home districts. The CBC was also involved in the establishment of TransAfrica in 1977. TransAfrica is a foreign policy advocacy organization designed to increase awareness of issues concerning Africa and the Caribbean. TransAfrica, with the support of the CBC and several other grassroots organizations, led the movement to dissociate from South Africa. As a result of these efforts, scores of universities and businesses withdrew investment dollars from South Africa.
In 1984, in the face of escalating violence and repression in South Africa and the refusal of the Reagan administration to take measures against the Botha regime, a group of Washington-based anti-apartheid and civil rights leaders launched the Free South Africa Movement. Randall Robinson, then director of TransAfrica, along with Mary Frances Berry, U.S. Delegate and CBC Member Walter Fauntroy, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, arranged a meeting with the South African ambassador. During that meeting, Norton left to call the media to announce that the other three would not leave the embassy until their demandsthat the South African government release all political prisoners immediately and dismantle apartheidwere met. The media and supporters were there to capture the removal of Robinson, Fauntroy, and Berry in handcuffs, and the daily protests outside the embassy began. The protests spread from the embassy in Washington, D.C., to South African consulates and other symbols of the South African government around the United States. Over the next two years, at least 6,000 people would be arrested at embassy and consulate protests including major figures from the civil rights movement, members of Congress and other political figures, and many artists and entertainers.
Title Length Color Rating: Opposition to Apartheid The South African Apartheid, instituted in 1948 by the countrys Afrikaner National Party, was legalized. The Apartheid In South Africa Essays
The National Party immediately passed a series of new laws that established the separation of races and suppressed political dissent. In 1950, the Population Registration Act was created to establish racial classifications based on skin color and ethnic backgrounds. Discriminatory laws were also established to hinder the voting process, target black businesses and property owners, as well as continue removing and resettling black South Africans on reservations. The labor bureau and trade unions also discriminated against black workers and thus weakened the urban African working class.
Considered “one of the cruelest forms of institutional racism ever devised” (Marx 1992:x), South Africa’s system of forced racial segregation or apartheid from 1948 to 1994 resulted in extreme inequality for its non-White citizens. Laws and policies enforced unequal distribution of food, education, work, and medical care among other resources as well as abolishing access to civic or political participation. In 2010, as an American graduate student in South Africa I was exposed for the first time to the country’s violent history and recent move towards democracy.